The Seaside Town of Belem and Inside the Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, Portugal

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The hilly capital of Lisbon, Portugal is known as one of Europe’s better weekend city breaks. With only four days sightseeing in the capital, we aimed to make the most of our stay here by setting out sightseeing immediately on arrival after our international flight. Lisbon is a terrific city to visit and packed full of terrific sights.


This post is one chapter on our trip to Portugal, the United Kingdom (England and Norther Ireland) and Ireland. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines Advantage and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity City Visit: The Seaside Town of Belem and Inside the Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, Portugal.

We had a slower wake up today from the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa and set out for a day in the sea side barrio of Belém. We took the Metro from Picoas to C followed by a suburban train to Belém. It was a slow process between waiting 20 minutes in line for the ticket machine at Cais de Sodré. It took us well over 2.5 hours to get from hotel door to attraction door in the Seaside town of Belém.

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Visiting the Jerónimos Monastery:

Our first stop on arrival was to head to the Jerónimos Monastery. I should have bought online as we had another line for tickets in the summer crush of tourists to access 3 computer kiosk ticket machines made longer by undecided people not wanting to pay by credit card in this cash society of Europe.

It was a very impressive building from the exterior, with interesting motifs over the doorways.

Once inside the Monastery, we had a great look at the intricate carvings that lined the walls among the inside and outside.

We then took a walk to the separate entrance that led into the church.

Most notable here was that Vasco de Gamma, the great Portuguese explorer and the first to link Europe to Asia (India) via an ocean route, was entombed. The picture came out somewhat blurry for some reason above there.

We left the monastery so that Jr could have a McDonald’s snack & I could stock up on cheap liquid drinks of the non alcoholic variety. It was about 33 degrees Celsius out today in the searing sun and the walking around in the heat was slowly getting the better of us.

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Tasting Custard Delights at Pastis de Belém:

We headed across the street to Pastis de Belém, an institution that has been selling custard tarts for some 150 years. I queued like all others for a 1.15 € shot at glory. It was awfully tasty although my travelling partner was having no part of experiencing the strange desert treat.

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Walking the Promenade to the Castle of Belém:

After the snacks, we headed for a short walk through the fountains over to the water feature along the shoreline. It was set up to admire the Portuguese explorers along with the various explorers.

There was also a chart map of all the areas of the world that the Portuguese explorers were able to reach.

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Climbing the Belém Tower Castle:

We then headed over to the Belém Tower Castle, wandering along the water front walkway. We arrived to a long line at 4:51 PM with a last entry at 5 PM. We had no idea whether they would admit all those in line or cut us off right at 5 PM. Fortunately, as we got closer, the castle closed at 6:30 PM and we were all able to get in. This photogenic castle was worth a visit and although it was pretty plain inside, visiting a castle on the water isn’t something you get to do everyday.

It was an interesting and simple building to climb around. They only allowed 120 persons into the tower part, with a sole circular staircase servicing the 5 floors.

There were some great views from the top, headed out all directions.

After that, we headed on a walk back towards the local train to head back into Lisboa.

And then the metro back home to the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa for the evening.

As we had a long day, and had a proper restaurant dinner last night, I gave into WT73jr’s comforts of home and we ended up having Subway sandwiches take away for dinner tonight as we were both kind of full. We walked the 7 minutes from the Sheraton Lisboa Resort and Spa to the nearby chain in the neighbourhood.

In the restaurant, I gave Jr my iPhone to do a little google translate from English into Portuguese so he could complete his food order in a different language. It was my horrors when I got back to the room after dinner and it came time to FaceTime home to MrsWT73 and I realized that I didn’t have my iPhone with me. I tore back to the restaurant and they were kind enough to have held it for me. I gave the clerk a little reward which she didn’t want to accept but the headache for me as an international traveler having lost an Iphone at the beginning of the trip was more than the 20€ I offered, which she ended up taking. Of course, on the screen when I opened it was this . . . I guess it wasn’t me that set it down… (laughing). I need to do better at keeping track of everyone and everything.

In Summary:

Belėm was a worthwhile day trip for Lisbon. The Monastery and Castle of Belém was well worth a visit, although it took quite a bit of time to get there. I would easily plan for at least one day to take in these sights if you’re visiting from central Lisbon.


If you’ve travelled as a family, what was the biggest surprise of your trip ?

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